Dera + Terry

There have been few conventional milestones in our relationship, and our first date is no exception. Both very young art students, there was a first date buried somewhere in a heap of questionable ‘firsts’; first time I “accidentally” ran into him in the sound room, first time he pretended he left his favorite brush in the painting studio, first time he brought over the saddest cold Chinese food to my dorm room at lunch, the first time I made his skin-n-bones rice & beans, the first time we stayed up until 3:00am watching ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, first time he awkwardly played me a song on his guitar from a beanbag chair (which his former roommates have never let him live down).

But the first date that I want to catalog as Official First Date was when he invited me to Ronny Romm, Hypnotist and Mentalist Extraordinaire (‘It’s not a show- it’s an EVENT!’ in college auditorium, free to those who present their student ID at door). Let the record show that we had not said more than two words to each other up until then, but we were already very aware of each other. What felt like the world’s biggest coincidence was probably not as big of a deal as it seemed at the time to this doe-eyed 18 year old-

my roommate was dating his roommate.

So we swapped insider info as necessary. This arrangement somehow led to Terry mustering up the courage to ask me out.

In truth, I had no idea if it was to be a date or if he was asking if I’d like to tag along on a group thing. There were no cues. No dinner. No holding doors. No date clothes to speak of. We just weren’t there yet. We were still playing it cool. Once we sat in our seats and the lights went out, I realized it was only us. It was only us and an auditorium filled with fellow students. It was only us, an auditorium filled with other students, and a bald man in a red suit who looked like John Lovitz and claimed to read minds. This was really a date. It was our first date.

If anyone has seen Ronny Romm, Hypnotist and Mentalist Extraordinaire (‘It’s not a show- it’s an EVENT!’), I would love to know what I missed. I do remember some of my friends were chosen to be on stage, and I recall a few of them barking like dogs or snoring or flapping their arms and clucking like a chicken. Other than that, the show- I mean, the event- was just a blur.

All I can recall is the feeling of our arms touching on a shared armrest. I remember holding my breath, my first reaction to withdraw, but making myself stay put. Radiating tingles- that was the whole show, the entire date, the memory of the night. Clucking, barking friends had nothing on the magic of arm hair contact.

We’ve come along way, as far as dates go. He takes me to dinner now, we’ve moved beyond our art school wardrobes, and he may even hold a door for me from time to time. But my Official First Date still remains the most romantic night of my life.

I would love to know what Ronny Romm, Hypnotist and Mentalist Extraordinaire, would’ve said if he read our minds that night.

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